Did you guess right? We of course picked Hapoel Umm el-Fahm, who will from here on be known as Fahm (there are 10 out of 16 teams in the division with Hapoel hence we didn’t go with that). Not only did they have a vastly bigger wage budget, but they also had some more stable expectations, a top half finish immediately makes me think we should be looking up rather than down, and the ‘State Cup: Reach Eighth Final’ certainly caught my eye.
Having never managed in Israel I wasn’t sure what to expect, this is in fact the second division, with familiar names like Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the division above. However the money situation is incredible, nearly 500k in the bank seems wildly higher, and certainly higher than any other job we could have gone to.
As you can see from the club info, The Peace Stadium holds 12,000 (how many of them will be filled is yet to be seen). The facilities are a little on the poor side but with money in the bank it’s something we’ll look to change immediately.
It’s a strong and quite large squad. On the face of it the only real concern is a lack of a quality left-back and depth at full-back on both sides, the squad is already close to full wage so there will need to be some movement before we bring anybody in.
31-year-old pressing forward Levan Kutalia is the key man in the team, his age is a concern, but I think we are a couple of seasons away from his physicals declining, and with these types of saves you’re never around for to long! A really nicely rounded-player with plenty of 11’s and 12’s in areas you’d like from your forward, looking forward to seeing how many he can bag for us this season!
Gambian born Gaira Joof is going to play as an IF – A on the left hand side, probably the second choice ST should Kutalia pick up a injury. At 21 there’s plenty of potential there and someone we can develop into that role over the course of our time here, mentally there’s some gaps but plenty to work with for sure.
Younes Jabarin is the best Israeli at the club, a Shadow Striker too (a role I haven’t had much luck with this year) finishing, composure and a good amount of speed makes me think that with him Gaira and Levan together, goals shouldn’t be a problem!
And finally… a 16-year-old regen who has been put in right at the start of the game with 5 star potential, Tarek Mare has been moved to the senior squad immediately and training to become a central midfielder and will be mentored appropriately.
Up next time – transfers, pre-season and the league start!